In ancient times, wells were the center of communal life. At the well, people would meet and converse about recent events, the latest news, and life struggles. Lots of living happens at a well. Though the source of life for a region, wells could also be a source of controversy and tension. While most people would travel to the well in early morning or late afternoon, the “less desirable” members of the community could only come at midday or at night. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Jesus goes to a well at midday.
A woman struggling to survive, barely scratching out a living, comes to the well to get water for her day. Normally, she’s alone. But not this time. Today, she encounters a strange man who seems to know her faults and struggles but doesn’t seem to care. He offers her everlasting water. A drink that will satisfy her parched, chapped soul. It doesn’t come from the well in front of her but from a living relationship with this man before her. Forgiveness, healing, a fresh start come pouring from him and flow deep into her soul. She can’t keep it in. She has to tell someone.
In telling her story, others are inspired. Others find they too are dry and thirsty and in need of deeper more meaningful lives. At first, her joy and change are enough, but soon they want more. She can’t keep them satisfied with only her experience. They need the source. So, she takes them to Jesus and they have an experience of their own.
This story should be our story. These lives transformed should be all over our communities and in our congregation. But we can’t depend on our experience or clever marketing to keep people interested. We have to give them Jesus. Only then will the thirsty get living water.